Sunday, 1 April 2012
Navineetham Pillai UN H C for Human Rights and Tamara Kunanayakam Permanent Representative of Sri Lanka to the UN Office at Geneva
They are two different women with two different mindsets. They are both from Tamil Communities . The former Navaneetham Pillai is a prejudiced individual who seems to be there in her place to take revenge from those who stole her childhood having been brought up in a poor Tamil Family from the poorest quarter of South Africa under an Apartheid Regime.
The latter Tamara Kanakanayakam on the other hand is quite the opposite brought up in a well to do Tamil family in which she had enjoyed a joyful childhood, away from any racial discrimination which is far from apartheid. Tamara unlike Navineetham is quite aware of her responsibility as the representative of Sri Lanka her country and her motherland, without the slightest feeling of anger or prejudice to the people of whatever Community in Sri Lanka or even to those of the West that hinders the progress and denigrates the importance of her motherland Sri Lanka a fully fledged Sovereign State.
Navineetham pillai’s staggering sence of prejudice that had been evident in some of a her statements come from her childhood experience which she recounts , “ We lived in Clairwood …… a victim of race riots in 1949 and that’s what caused the fear on part of the residents of Clairwood, including my parents. With me, firstly, when I was six-years old I was the victim of robbery. My mother had given me my father’s entire monthly wages, which was R5 to take to him. He was a bus driver I was supposed to meet him at the corner and hand this money to him. Meanwhile he had not asked for the money it was his conductor who had planned that ruse and he grabbed the money from my hand off he went.
My mother beat me up for that. I don’t know why the victim gets beaten. Anyway, and I ended up giving evidence in court at the age of , (seven) six in the same Durban High Court where I many years later sat as a judge. ………But what really bugged me is that we didn’t get the R5 back and I felt so guilty as a child that I had caused the loss to my parents. “
That is when the seeds of racial hatred was born in her. She could not distinguish apartheid and racial difference. In her mind as a six year old she despised the idea of being treated differently. When she was old enough to understand , the terrorism in Sri Lanka of which she had heard , she had understood it in personal terms as the Sinhala majority government being a “regime of apartheid” and the Tamils, like she was in Durban , were victimised by the Sinhala Government and its Armed Forces. That became therefore another cause she would be fighting later on in her life.
Tamara Kunanayakam when she was asked by a journalist, “ You are part of the Tamil community yourself. What do you have to say about the allegations of genocide by Canadian HART? ”
Tamara was genuinely stupefied, she said, “Such allegations are ridiculous, a caricature and dangerous. Yes, I belong to the Tamil community and I’m proud to be Sri Lankan! Cries of genocide were heard only during the last phase of the war and only when the military defeat of the LTTE became possible and to justify external intervention to rescue its leaders. If one takes a closer look at the definition of ‘genocide’ in the 1948 UN Convention on the Prevention and Punishment of the Crime of Genocide, you will have a hard time finding evidence that there was intent on the part of the Government of Sri Lanka “to destroy, in whole or in part”
Those are the words of an intelligent woman representing her motherland and speaking out the proud and sincere concept of a unprejudiced mind.
Navineetham Pillai on the other hand is a very prejudiced personality unfit for the position she holds in the UNHRC which requires persons of the calibre of Tamara Kunanayagam, who could look at a political problem objectively without colouring the issue with her psychological problems with which she grew up with hatred towards society and people. Navineetham Pillai once spoke of United Nations having “very clear policies on vetting”, referring to the appointment of Major General Shavendra Silva , but it is shocking that such “ very clear policies on vetting “ had not been applied in selecting her to the position of the UN HC for HR
She explains her utter disappointment being a coloured Tamil growing up in apartheid South Africa. Perhaps assuming all the Tamil people who are a minority in a country have the same problems as those she had to suffer in apartheid South Africa.
« At high school some teachers discouraged me and they said you know “You can only become a lawyer if your father is very well to do; or if there are lawyers in your family. But you are a bus driver’s daughter you shouldn’t even think about that.” And when I completed my Articles under Mr NT Naicker then, of course, nobody would employ a young woman. And so I had triple burdens I was a woman, I was black, and I was poor. And so that’s why I started my own law practice. And I know that some colleagues said, “She’s very presumptuous to start a law practice.” So mainly, I think, what motivated me, and most of the other law students, is this injustice that we saw all around us. All the laws, which we regarded as immoral and unjust laws and that, we had to defend our people against those laws »
Tamara Kunanayagam speaks sincerely without a perverted prejudice about un dented Communal mixture in Sri Lanka where different communities live in peace with each other when she says,
“Although there is a large concentration of the (Tamil)community in the North, the majority live outside alongside other Sri Lankan communities, Sinhala, Muslim, Moor, Malay and Burghers. If there was genocide, would the communities be living peacefully alongside each other? Since time immemorial, mixed marriages have been common. This is true in my own family.
You will find political parties emanating from the Tamil community in Government. Others emanating from the same community have elected representatives in parliament. Even the pro-LTTE political Party TNA has entered the democratic process and participated in recent elections. Members of the (Tamil)community are at senior levels of Government, in the judiciary and law enforcement agencies, in the various professions, in Universities, in the press, in business former Minister of Foreign Affairs, Lakshman Kadirgamar was from community. He was assassinated by the LTTE. After the EasternProvince was liberated by Government forces with the aid of a breakaway LTTE faction, provincial elections were held and a former LTTE child-soldier was appointed by the President as Chief Minister of that province. An ex-LTTE Commander was appointed as Minister of National Integration.”
Navineetham Pillai with her utter prejudice against the Army of the Sinhala majority that defeated her idolized Tamil terrorist Prabhakaran she points her finger at Major General Shavendra Silva in her statement to the press that, « she had informed U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon of her misgivings about General Shavendra Silva, Sri Lanka’s deputy U.N. ambassador, who commanded the Sri Lankan army’s 58th Division during the final assault against the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) in 2009 »
Tamara Kunanayagam unlike the prejudiced Navineetham Pillai, explains the difference between theTamil people of Sri Lanka and the terrorists who had sprung from the Tamil Communuity,
“Government forces were engaged not against the Tamil community, but against a terrorist organisation that fought a relentless and ruthless war for separation. They were engaging LTTE suicide squads, the Black Tigers, trained in suicide operations, unprecedented in history. The Black Tigers were involved in the assassination of former Prime Minister of India Rajiv Gandhi and Sri Lankan President Ranasinghe Premadasa.
Let’s recall that right from the beginning of his mandate and practically until the end of the war in May 2009, President Mahinda Rajapaksa continued to call for discussions, even face to face, with the leader Prabakharan, who didn’t even respond. Throughout the war, the Sri Lankan Government continued to transport physically Tamil community was not deprived of essential services.”
Navineetham Pillai then speaks of the reason why she chose to be a lawyer, “ So mainly, I think, what motivated me, and most of the other law students, is this injustice that we saw all around us. All the laws, which we regarded as immoral and unjust laws and that, we had to defend our people against those laws » . Is it therefore not correct to assume that she is still defending her people in going against the Government of Sri Lanka accusing it with violation of human rights a nd war crimes ?
Tamara Kunanayagam on the other hand speaks frankly of the terrorist war and how neglectful the terrorist were of the Tamil civilians and cruel to them despite they being their own “kith and kin”.
“They( the Tamil Civilians) had been forced to follow the trail of a retreating LTTE across jungles for use as human shields. Many had been corralled out of the Jaffna peninsula at gunpoint by the LTTE, as early as 1995, during the first big enforced exodus.
In the last stages of the war when the LTTE was cornered, it is well known that civilians were prevented from moving out of the line of fire or escaping to government-controlled areas. In an attempt to prevent them escaping, the LTTE fired at the fleeing civilians, launched grenade and mortar attacks, and sent suicide bombers to explode in their midst. ”
Tamara Kumaranayakam has not studies as Navineetham Pillai to vindicate her Communal status or to fight for the right of a particular community of people. Therefore she is not biased against one Community or another and her studies had a global approach for social upliftment of the people.
“ From 1989 to 1990 she ( Tamara Kunanayakam) organised the UN Global Consultation on the Right to Development as human rights officer at the United Nations Centre for Human Rights. From 1993 to 1994 she was the head of the department for development of policy at Bread for All in Bern, Switzerland. From 1994 to 2005, she was attached to the United Nations Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights with special responsibilities in the field of economic, social and cultural rights and the right to development as Secretary of the UN Working Group on the Right to Development, as Secretary of the UN Working Group on Structural Adjustment Programmes, and as Secretary of the Working Group on Enforced or Involuntary Disappearances. In 2007, Kunanayakam was appointed as Minister Counsellor to the Embassy of Sri Lanka in Brazil and from 2009 to 2011 as Sri Lanka's Ambassador to Cuba
Of the two women applying the “very clear policies of vetting” of the UNO Tamara Kunanayakam has a better right to be the Commissioner of the UNHRCommission, than Navineetham Pillai.